I'm in mid-stage interviews with a company in San Francisco. Currently I'm living very far from there, and I expect to get invited sooner or later for final onsite interviews. But I'm wondering how I will be able to handle this, because I don't have a credit card, and barely enough savings to book initial tickets (if they only reimburse tickets after arriving).

I'm totally new to this, so it would be helpful to know how companies usually cover travel expenses, so I can be prepared. Is it expected that they will buy two-way tickets and hotel reservations, then send the details to me, or do they reimburse the expenses after being provided with receipts, or do something totally different? Is it acceptable to request a different payment method, incase their method is less-than-ideal for me?

Also would it be reasonable to ask the company to cover the cost of re-entry into my current country of residence (which charges fees for entering at the border, if you are not a citizen)?

  • 1
    This woudl vary from copmany to company. Ask at the time you are offered the interview. Someo copmanies don't cover expenses at all, some will cover them and others may cnver some but not all of them. Some may make the reservations but many would expect you to make the reservations be reimbursed. If your expenses will be large, then I would be saving to cover them up front and await reimbursement. That way you are covered no matter what their policy is. Since you are coming from another copmanym I would refuse interviews with companies that do not do any reimbursement.
    – HLGEM
    Jan 14, 2015 at 20:03
  • Why don't you ask the companies that you are interviewing with, and work out the details with them? Jan 14, 2015 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


This varies company to company. There is no rule/law that applies here.

Some companies, in order to be more attractive (especially to recent graduates), provide airfare/hotel accommodations. I've seen companies that use one or more of the following methods to do this:

  • Send you to book through a travel agency. They pay for it with a company account.
  • Reimburse expenses. You pay, and they pay you back.
  • Directly provide accommodations. They provide both the flight and housing on company property. For example, I've seen Intel do this.
  • Provide a budgeted amount upfront. Based on your departure airport, they budget an amount and give it to you. However you travel and lodge is up to you.

Of course, some companies may only cover one or the other.

Lastly, many (if not most) companies do not provide any sort of accommodations, at least by default. You may be able to negotiate that they pay the cost if you feel you have the leverage. If you cannot afford to travel to an in-person interview, then you will want to discuss this when you are offered the in-person interview.

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    In my experience, larger companies will tend to book and pay for the flights (and hotel if applicable) up front. Smaller companies can be all over the board. Jan 14, 2015 at 20:22
  • "They provide both the flight and housing on company property. For example, I've seen Intel do this." The flight? Do they own an airline, or send a private jet to pick you up?
    – T. Verron
    Jan 15, 2015 at 14:18
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    @T.Verron Unless you are a C-level candidate, you probably won't get a private jet. However, some companies operate what amounts to a private airline. The normal use is generally a shuttle between major operating locations, so if you're in/near one of these locations, the company will have you ride the shuttle to the HQ (or whatever location you're being hired at) for the hiring process. This not only can be cheaper for them (they are operating the plane anyway, whether or not it's full), but it also makes one heck of a first impression.
    – Nick2253
    Jan 15, 2015 at 15:12
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    BAE Systems is one example of that - they have shuttle flights around the UK several times a day. I've no idea if they've ever used them for interviewees, but it wouldn't surprise me.
    – Jon Story
    Feb 3, 2015 at 11:28
  • @Nick2253 - The company you mention is no longer directly in the air shuttle business. These days a separate company provides the shuttle service for exclusive use by company personnel. Sep 24, 2016 at 18:35

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